Woman sentenced over blackmail charge
A Queenstown woman who falsely accused a man of rape after he slept with her sister was yesterday sentenced to nine months' home detention for blackmail.
Moetahi Walker, 27, masseuse, appeared before Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court for sentence for expressly threatening to make an accusation with intent to cause the victim to act to obtain a benefit, namely $6000, on December 19.
Judge Turner said blackmail was an insidious and abhorrent crime.
"If you genuinely thought your sister was unlawfully taken advantage of then you would have gone to the police but you saw this as an opportunity to try and extort some money out of a visitor to this country."
Lawyer Mike Newell argued for home detention after a Crown submission in favour of a starting point of two and a half years in jail.
A summary of facts said a 39-year-old Turkish man, a taxi driver, had consensual sex with Walker's 18-year-old sister then drove her home.
The teenager had a sheet wrapped around her waist and was questioned by her older sibling, who formed the opinion the man's actions amounted to rape.
She sent him a text message pretending to be her sister and told him she wanted to meet at a house in Man St.
When he arrived she took digital photos of his face, yelled at him and accused him of rape. He left and 15 minutes later received a text message asking him to return.
Walker got into his car and drove to Thompson St, where she told him there were two ways to deal with the situation - either he went to jail and was deported or he could pay $6000 compensation.
He told her he did not have that kind of money and she suggested he paid $200 a week, with the first payment starting on Christmas Day.
During the next few days, she sent texts reminding him of the meeting but he did not reply.
Eventually he sent a message saying she was the criminal, he was not going to pay and to go to the police. She then rang 111 and reported a rape.
The court was told he lost his job as a taxi driver and had left New Zealand.
The Southland Times